If you were a reader of this blog prior to it becoming a hub of conference realignment viewpoints, I would regularly run “Land-o-Links” posts that had some random links to usually unrelated news stories or blog posts that I simply found interesting.  In the wake of having my faith in the journalistic instincts of Barbara Walters re-affirmed today, I figured that it was time to re-institute the Land-o-Links posts with a mix of expansion news and other random items on a regular basis in between my full-length missives.  So, here are today’s links:

(1) Notre Dame AD Expands on Expansion Talk (Kansas City Star) – I had put up this news article in the comments in the “Ain’t No Party Like a West Coast Party” post and wanted to focus on it a little bit more.  Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick talked to reporters again about the prospect of the Domers joining a conference and he didn’t say anything to make the fine folks at NDNation feel better.  Here’s the key quote for me:

Swarbrick indicated the dilution of Big Ten revenues could be offset by the success of the leagues own TV network, apparently on sound footing.

“The traditional model, where a conference had a fixed fee media rights deal, if you added somebody you sliced the pie a little thinner,” Swarbrick said. “When you’re dealing with equity in a network … it’s a situation we haven’t had before.”

Maybe it’s just me, but this sounds a lot like Notre Dame wants a piece of the Big Ten Network gravy train.  It’s a clear message to the Domers that don’t already realize the following: the NBC deal is a relic of the past while controlling your own content like the Big Ten Network is the future.  At the very least, the quotes coming out of Notre Dame about its commitment to independence are increasingly more wishy-washy.

(2) The Great Baseball Card Bubble (Slate) – This excerpt from a new book on how baseball cards went through a tulip bulb-like craze (which I’m now going to have to read in full) hits pretty close to home.  My youth coincided perfectly with the explosion of baseball card speculation in the late-1980s and early-1990s where I spent virtually every penny that I had during that era on wax packs.  Years later, a good portion of my basement closet is taken up by boxes of gems like the Todd Van Poppel rookie card.  Are these pieces of cardboard now so worthless that I sometimes wonder if I’d be set for life today if I just opened up an IRA when I was 10 years old instead of plowing through boxes of Donruss and Fleer?  You bet.  Do I even dignify a response to my wife that annually asks about “getting rid of some cards to make it more organized” right around spring cleaning time?  Heck no.

And finally…

(3) Doc Jensen/Totally ‘Lost’ (Entertainment Weekly) – As a huge ‘LOST’ fan, there’s quite a mix of emotions as we enter into the final weeks of the show.  While there have been cable shows like ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘The Wire’ that might arguably be at the top of the heap in terms of quality television over the past decade, ‘LOST’ is the best network TV drama that I’ve ever seen.  Doc Jensen of Entertainment Weekly has provided some of the most mind-blowing analysis of the show out there with an avalanche of literary references, religious allegories, and pop culture notations.  The fact that Entertainment Weekly could be home to such a deep high-brow look at this show is mind-blowing enough.  This also serves as an excuse for me to write about ‘LOST’.

If you don’t watch ‘LOST’, please feel free to ignore the rest of this post because you won’t know WTF is going on.  As of now, I’m subscribing to the common theory that the “flash sideways” story lines represent the epilogue for each of the characters, where the people who sided with Jacob have ended up with semi-happy lives and the ones that sided with the Smoke Monster/Fake Locke are doomed to the same negative lives that they had before.  It seems to be the way that everything ties together and would give those scenes a purpose that currently isn’t quite clear.  I’m really intrigued by Jensen’s prediction that the purpose of Jack is ultimately to take Real Locke’s body back to the Temple and bring him back to life in the pool, which is a not-so-veiled reference to the resurrection of Christ.  This way, Real Locke, who has really taken a figurative beating over the past season with Fake Locke’s references that Real Locke led a pathetic life, will end up being the strong leader that we originally thought that he would be when the show first started.

This provides Real Locke the opportunity to make everything right by taking down Smokey once and for all (in a manner yet to be determined) and taking his rightful place as the chosen “candidate” to replace Jacob.  What’s my guess as to what his first (and only) act as Jacob’s replacement will be?  Sacrifice himself by sending everyone home.  That’s right – I don’t think that Juliet’s detonation of the bomb last season was the cause of the “reset” in the flash sideways, but rather Real Locke, with his power as Jacob’s replacement, destroys the island that he had always wanted to stay on in order to send his friends back to a 2004 world where Oceanic 815 never crashes.

Of course, this means that Real Locke would be giving up his power AND sending himself back to a world where he couldn’t walk, which would be an incredible sacrifice.  This has to work out for him, right?  Well, I can’t think of a more apt ending to the show than Jack, the world-class spinal surgeon, fulfilling his purpose in the real world by finally being approached by Real Locke for a consultation and “fixing” his problem.  Jack has already shown the ability to fix Sarah after a car accident that should have left her paraplegic.  If Jack resurrects Real Locke on the island, then the perfect mirror would be Jack getting Real Locke to walk in 2004.  Then, the show closes with Real Locke fulfilling his dream of going through the Australian outback, which he was previously prevented from going on because of his disability, with a huge hunting knife in hand and looking every bit as strong as we had seen him on the island.

Now that I’ve put all of those theories down, it virtually guarantees that it will end up in a completely different manner.  That’s perfectly fine with me – I’m ready to savor these last few episodes before a big TV void opens up in my life.  I’ll be back with a full-length post later this week.

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Comments
  1. HerbieHusker says:

    Notre Dame is going to join; they are just dragging their feet to appease the alumni. Until reading these comments I had the impression that ND wouldn’t join unless some Big East teams were added as well; but this almost sounds like ND would join solo as the 12th team to ensure the biggest ‘slice of the pie’ possible.

    Like

    • MIRuss says:

      Herbie + Lokie,

      I think, if you were to put a probability on all the likely scenarios, ND joining as the 12th team is at the top of the list…

      1. ND joins – 30%
      2. Texas (and A&M) joins – 7%
      3. BEast Raid – 20%
      4. BEast – Big 12 Raid – 23%
      5. Other combination-15%
      6. Do Nothing – 5%

      The BEast argument always has and will continue to fall flat if the Domers are still in the discussion. Whether or not anyone likes it is a moot point; Notre Dame brings more to the table (including the East Coast Market) than any BEast school can. Texas, as much as I would like to see it, has become an obvious non-starter, at least to me, with respect to great posts by others here, including you, Loki.

      But I do think the Pac 10’s hand will be forced as well. I just am not sure how that plays out due to the unanimous vote required. They don’t want to sit back and watch valuable 12 member conference $$$$ get left on the table. My take is they will do something. What, exactly, remains to be seen.

      Like

  2. greg says:

    I’m surprised that ND keeps dropping hints like they are going to join. I hope they don’t. They are not a cultural fit, and their alumni seem like they are going to be terrible comrades in arms.

    Like

    • 84Lion says:

      Agree, especially about the alumni (and fans). Although, it would be amusing to see ND be forced to play in the Little Caesars Bowl. As a Big Ten member they could not refuse a bowl invite, correct?

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Well, they could, though the Big10 would likely try to persude them to play unless there’s another available Big10 team.

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      • greg says:

        ND was only refusing bowl bids in the past since the school would lose money on it. Since the Big 10 bowl revenue sharing would cover it, ND would certainly elect to go bowling.

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  3. loki_the_bubba says:

    I still see the most likely outcome being that ND joins the B10, the P10 stands pat due to internal squabbles, and nothing else changes.

    Like

    • Kyle says:

      And then the Big East invites Houston and TCU? They’ll have to do something after losing Notre Dame in their Bowl Game tie-ins.

      Like

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        At this point, Memphis feels more likely than Houston and TCU. I have no basis for this. But it would be odd to me to see the Big East here in Texas.

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        • Rick says:

          I don’t see the BE going west. They are too short sighted and conservative. ECU, UCF, Temple, Buffalo, Memphis. Army/Navy football only longshots.

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        • Kyle says:

          I don’t have any more info than you, but I feel like Memphis’ Basketball strength would be an unwanted challenge among the crowded upper echelon of the Big East while their football product is not good enough. Taking TCU would help keep the Mountain West from encroaching on BCS status, Houston and TCU definitely fit the urban-school identity of the Big East (except for Morgantown and Stoors), and this would give the other football schools an annual trip to Texas for recruiting and exposure purposes.

          This may all be wishful thinking on my part; there’s been no indication that this Big East administration is any more pro-active than the last one.

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          • Rick says:

            This BE leadership I think is weak and short sighted. It makes sense to look west but I would be shocked if they do.

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          • Richard says:

            Basketball strength is a _good_ thing since the NCAA tournament committee takes strength of schedule in to account (so the majors tend to be seeded 1-2 seeds higher than they should be). If having strong teams in your conference was a bad thing, you’d be seeing Villanova and Providence leaving for the Atlantic10, which they’re obviously not going to do.

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          • @Kyle – I’ve long believed that TCU needs to be at the top of the list as a Big East candidate, if only because maintaining BCS status in the event that the conference loses any members trumps every other concern at that point. Of course, I also sympathize with your skepticism that the Big East leadership will actually go that route.

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        • Jake says:

          Now, I’m a TCU fan and I’ve really enjoyed the current conference, but a Texas team in the Mountain West makes about as much sense as the Big East. At least the BE would only be a one time zone difference for the Frogs instead of two. If we could get more money and more exposure by moving to the Big East, it would probably happen, as much as I wouldn’t care for it. At least the BE could bring a little excitement to Frog basketball. Men’s hoops games are like going to a funeral. And if they add Houston or Memphis, it would be like the old C-USA all over again, which I guess was okay.

          Like

  4. Jake says:

    Hmmm …Jacob said he couldn’t reunite Richard with his dead wife, so I think giving a happy life to his faithful followers might be a bit beyond his abilities. Also, he’s dead. Things certainly don’t seem to have worked out too well for pro-Jacob Sun in sideways land (or maybe they have – looks like we’ll find out tonight). And Claire, who is most definitely on Team Locke, seemed to be doing okay.

    I figure the series ends with Jack taking up the mantle of Jacob and settling in for an eternity on the island with Fake Locke. Those two have been on the opposite side of every argument for the last six seasons, so it would be fitting for them to get stuck together until the end of time.

    I’m also interested to see how Jack has changed since he spent some time staring off into the ocean. He’s been quiet since he held the suicide intervention for Richard. Maybe he’s taken some time for self-reflection and he finally realizes that the island is his destiny. Or he’ll just keep destroying everything he doesn’t understand.

    And speaking of Richard, what’s his problem? Did Jack’s dynamite trick not make an impact? His transition from “Screw it, I want to end it all” to “Screw it, I’m with Locke” wasn’t quite convincing for me. But it had been awhile since we’ve gotten a flashback, and his was a pretty good one. I’m thinking we’ve got maybe one more flashback for the series, with Sideways stories for the other seven remaining episodes. Should be a good ride.

    Like

    • @Jake – Very interesting theory for the ending – that would be a fairly dark conclusion. As long as it doesn’t involve Jack and Locke sitting in a diner with Journey playing in the background, I’ll be happy.

      I think that Jack finally understands that there’s a purpose for him on the island (which is why he was so confident that the dynamite on the Black Rock wouldn’t blow him and Richard up), so he’s “changed” in some manner. How he’s changed will be a critical question. I wonder if Claire is going to end up with Team Jacob in the end. When she broke down with Kate after coming to grips that she had been harboring misguided hatred toward the Others for a couple of years, did she turn back to good (or at least leave an opening to turn away from Smokey)?

      I was a fan of last week’s Richard episode, although I agree that his sudden disbelief in everything around him was a bit of a stretch. The episode with Sun and Jin tonight should be very interesting – Sayid’s sideways story was probably my favorite one (with the Ben and Sawyer episodes close behind) and I’m really looking forward to how the run-in between him and Jin turns out. Sun and Jin also certainly seemed unhappy at least in the season premiere – will that turn out to be the case permanently? Is their desire to be together on the 2007 island cause them to side with Smokey (who will make them promises), which will doom them and tear them apart when they’re sent back to 2004?

      Like

      • MIRuss says:

        I wish I had watched Lost from the beginning. I started watching too late and was “Lost”…Can you start a thread on “Breaking Bad”???

        This has to be without question the best show on TV right now…

        Like

      • Jake says:

        Yeah, I’m very interested to see what happens with Sun and Jin – I feel like they’ve been really underdeveloped throughout the series. Sun’s with the “good” guys for the moment, but she has shown some flashes of ruthlessness in the past, so who knows? Maybe she’ll end up with Locke while Jin ends up with Team Jacob. That’d be quite a turnaround from the beginning of the series, when Jin was the asshole abusive husband and Sun was his quietly suffering wife.

        I agree about the Sayid and Sawyer stories – that was quality stuff. Locke and Ben had pretty decent episodes as well. Jack’s story was a little too Hallmark Hall of Fame for my tastes, while the Kate-Claire was episode was just a bit … meh.

        I’m definitely going to have to go back and watch this series again after it ends. I haven’t seen most of the episodes since they originally aired. I wonder how differently some of the Smoke Monster stuff will play with all we’ve learned about it?

        Note: compare the death of the slave ship captain to that of Greg Grunberg’s character back at the beginning – both were suddenly ripped upwards from their ship/plane through a window/portal without warning. What does Smokey have against captains? Speaking of, is Frank Lapidus ever going to be relevant? Is he really just there to fly the plane off the island? We’ve never gotten a full flashback on him, just the bit where he said he was supposed to be on Flight 815.

        Like

        • @Jake – Oh, I shouldn’t have forgetten about the Locke episode being a favorite, too. Anything episode that features a heavy dose of Terry O’Quinn is a winner in my book. He’s just crushing it out of the ballpark with his acting skills.

          Like

  5. Rick says:

    Open question: What do you think is happening with William Blair and Company now?
    1) In Dec Jim Delany announces Big Ten given the go ahead to explore expansion
    2) Says over the next 12 to 18 months they decide what to do if anything.
    3) In February he says by Spring or Summer they will have a good idea of what if anything to do.
    4) A list of 15 schools is spoken of. No names other than who was not seen on list
    5) March 2, William Blair releases first findings. 5 schools analyzed and mentioned, they say expansion would increase member revenue payout.

    So here we are 30 days later. The timeline and pace of this project seems to have progressed faster than we all thought. It’s 90 days till end of June. Summer.

    Given the action taken the first 90 days since the announcement, where do we think we are in the timeline for the next 90 days. Will the fast pace continue or can we expect a “collect your thoughts” now period because once this train leaves the station it is moving fast?

    What do we think Blair and Company are working on now?
    1) Further exploring the rest of the 15 on the supposed list?
    2) Talking to any schools about interest?
    3) Exploring deeper the list of 5?
    4) Exploring Texas interest?
    5) Talking to Notre Dame?
    6) Exploring/talking to cable Media in Eastern Markets?
    7) Talking to NBC about buyout of ND contract?
    8) Talking to Texas about BTN/Long Horn network joint venture?
    9) Talking to Pac 10 about media venture?
    10) Doing nothing, their job is done?

    What do we think the University Presidents are doing now in regard to this?

    Like

    • @Rick – I wouldn’t be surprised if the Big Ten is using multiple advisers on this. William Blair is a regional Chicago-based investment bank that may have been used heavily on the research portion of the analysis. I’m only speculating here, but my guess is that a national firm like Goldman Sachs would be brought in if and when the Big Ten wants to proceed with a particular school or schools. Once again, that’s just my gut feeling.

      Like

      • Rick says:

        Is that how the PSU expansion was done as well as the previous Texas and ND considerations? Or is this a completely different animal because of the magnitude of the financial considerations? I was not close enough to the previous situations to know.

        Like

      • Rick says:

        I can see it now. June negotiation meetings:

        AM meeting: Goldman Sachs, Jim Delany, Barry Alvarez, University of Wisconsin President, and…. Frank & Richard: across the table from Jack Swarbrick, Father Flanigan (?), Dick Ebersol, and a rep from NDNation.

        PM meeting: Goldman Sachs, Jim Delany, Joe Paterno, Barry Alvarez, the OSU President, and…Frank & Richard: across the table from Deloss Dodds, Bill Powers, The Texas Speaker of the House, and Rick Perry.

        Evening meeting in LA: Goldman Sachs, Jim Delany, and Frank & Richard: across the table from Jim Scott, Mike Garrett, Lane Kiffin, and Arnold….hosted at “Voyeur West”.

        Like

    • c says:

      Re timing (Rick)

      ND’s AD seems to be publically saying not yes, not no, but conditionality.

      This makes perfect sense since no formal invitation has even been issued although he continues to say he’d prefer not to, which is not really necessary but no doubt reflects ND’s ambiguity.

      Since this is ND’s 3d time around block, unless the conditionality is generally ok with Big 10, ND’s posturing is going to get stale pretty soon.

      My impression is no true negotiations will take place till recommendations are submitted to Big 10 Presidents in June who will provide guidelines for exploration of options with guidance as to what is accepatable, perhaps with respect to certain schools or certain packages of schools, whether one or up to 3 teams might be accepatable.

      The June meeting is likely to be too importance not to have some leaks or new rounds of speculation based on whatever statements are issued.

      The interesting question at this point is whether the Big 10 Presidents based on informal discussions know what they want to collectively do, and what candidate schools including ND want to do.

      In the next period it will be interesting to see if one or more Big 10 member ADs or Presidents make statements relating to preferences re number of teams or specific preferred teams as a form of public lobbying or whether the group acts in a truly confidential way.

      The Big 10 has already stated they are open to many options with respect to number of teams considered and even number of schools to be considered.

      It is tempting to make assumptions based on past actions but the Big 10 network may be the true wildcard with respect to the goals of expansion and the evaluation of various candidates.

      No doubt they will be contacting ND and Texas directly. It would be surprising if they have not had or do not have some informal exploratory talks prior to the President’s meeting.

      The real issue however is what is it the key parties actually want to do: Texas if they are still a potential candidate, and ND, and most importantly the Big 10: they hold the cards, not ND.

      Really how much more “research” is really needed at this point?

      Like

      • c says:

        Re: number of teams invited

        Perhaps even more interesting than which team or teams are invited is the number invited.

        If the Big 10 is content to add only one team despite it’s unique advantages with it’s own channel and first mover advantage, then the chances of other conference expansions beyond 12 seem unlikely.

        If the Big 10 goes to 14, then it is likely the other conferences despite their preferences may over time decide to follow the Big 10 to 14.

        Like

      • Rick says:

        @c: excellent analysis. Thanks.

        Like

  6. Nittany Wit says:

    It might be journalistic license, but the end of the article is of most interest to me….

    If Swarbick’s comment to the NBC contract being the biggest obstacle to joining a conference was truly
    “No, That’s our greatest asset.” then it does drive home the point that ND realizes the waning value of the NBC contract in dollars, but the increasing value of the contract as an appeal to conferences seeking expansion due to adding of a new “market”. The NBC deal puts an actual dollar value on an Irish football game, so it is undebatable the revenue that they bring to the table just for TV.

    The question is…would ND move if they knew they were only offered as the 12 and only team and knew that they wouldn’t be part of a 14 or 16 team league?

    Like

  7. Derrick says:

    Todd van Poppel just needs a few years to develop….
    Somewhere during the multiple moves during my college years, my baseball card collection got lost. And I’m really not that sad about it, cuz all my cards were from that same late-80s period, and are pretty worthless.

    Like

  8. M says:

    I generally not a conspiracy theorist (except for the “frank is actually a big ten double agent”) but I cannot shake the idea that these statements are just a way to discourage the conference from adding a non nd school. As has been previously stated, nds position is substantially stronger if they have the “worst case” of joining the big ten. If that spot is filled they have no fallback position. If they can persuade the conference to not act because of the nd possibility, they in some sense should.

    I actually began baseball card collecting in the aftermath of that collapse (93 to 97ish) so I got the benefit of boxes of cards on clearence piles. The whole hobby is probably dead, killed by the rise of other collectibles (eg pokemon) and the fall of baseball as the most popular sport (which I contend is due in no small part due to the futility of rooting for any team not in a top market).

    Like

  9. Scott S says:

    What with comments and replies being added up and down a page, it’s hard enough trying to find new comments on a page devoted to a topic of the Big Ten. I think it’s even more difficult when a page is devoted to two or three topics–in this case Notre Dame, baseball cards and ‘Lost’. For the sake of convenience (and my sanity), I might suggest each topic get its own page.

    Like

  10. Todd says:

    Any possibility of ND joining the Big Ten for all sports except football? Of course this would only be feasible if, at the conclusion of the NBC contract, the Big Ten contracted with ND to broadcast all their games, but at least ND football could still claim independence and appease all those domers.

    Like

    • @Todd – That’s a big fat NOOOO. You’ll see Bowling Green and Eastern Michigan end up in the Big Ten before ND is allowed to join as a non-football member. ND brings virtually no value to the Big Ten without football – it doesn’t need its basketball program, the Big Ten would be helping ND out on the graduate research side via the CIC and the conference’s TV revenues are larger than ND’s NBC contract, anyway. The Big Ten is the ultimate “all in or all out” conference – this isn’t about appeasing the Domers. If ND wants the advantages of Big Ten membership (and the administration seems to want it even if the alums don’t care), then it needs to join it on all levels.

      Like

      • Todd says:

        Frank – Thanks for the response. I agree ND only has value to the Big Ten from a football perspective. It just seemed they (Big Ten) effectively would be recognizing that value by coming to terms with ND to show their games on the BTN. I know it won’t happen.

        Like

    • Nittany Wit says:

      The only reason for ND as a non-football member is to have the advantage for when they do join a conference. But we all see how well that has worked in the Big East arrangement, so from the athletic side of things there is a negative benefit to having ND as a non-football member. No reason to join for football since you have already given them exactly what they want (football independence). The only leverage then is to kick them out which isn’t going to help get them back in.

      Notre Dame understands that for years it has had its cake and is eating it too, so they want to keep it that way. Being a true independent for all sports presents a lot of problems and challenges for Swarbick, so the likelihood of the Big East crumbling is a pivotal point for Notre Dame. I don’t think anyone in the future will accept Notre Dame into their conference without football.

      Like

  11. Mike says:

    The RSS feed for the comments makes it much easier to find the new comments, if you haven’t tried that.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      Metropolitan Las Vegas has less than 2M people.

      I guess local boosterism is to be expected, but I don’t think the Pac10 will admit what they consider to be a commuter school which will drag down the average households per school and also has added advantage of being non-competitive in football.

      Like

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      The interesting line in the UNLV article is:

      “A source said any school not currently playing ball in a top-50 market need not apply. Denver (Colorado) is 16th in Designated Market Area (DMA). Salt Lake City (Utah) is 31st. Las Vegas is 42nd.”

      Schools not in a top-50 market: aTm and Texas Tech. aTm can argue it brings Houston. Tech has nothing.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Kind of a strange way to make decisions. I guess it makes some sense with a traditional TV contract where your games are going to be broadcast over-the-air (because advertisers value urban dwellers more). If you plan to have a cable network, though, the subscription fee is the same regardless. 1M people spread over West Texas is the same as 1M people in a section of Houston.

        In any case, TTech brings West Texas (or at least the panhandle) . . . which is still not a lot.

        Like

      • Playoffs Now! says:

        Eh, that article sounds like a sports blowhard looking for an easy column, rather than any indication that UNLV is being seriously considered. The Salt Lake-Provo TV market is substantially larger than LV’s, so is Utah compared to Nevada. Both are fast growing, and while LV was growing somewhat faster (raw numbers, not the misleading percentage growth figures) that boom busted, while Salt Lake-Provo’s continues to grow at a solid pace. SLC-Pr has a higher percentage of residents watching Utah than Vegas has watching UNLV, so even if Vegas’ market catches up in 20 years that still might not translate into more viewers. Add in the potential issues related to gambling and Utah’s superior academics compared to UNLV, and the latter school really only has a shot if CO declines.

        The Top 50 market statement is aimed at Boise, not TTech or aTm. TT isn’t going to apply on its own, they’d only be going west as a package deal with Texas and aTm. As for aTm, it would be considered to bring in every TV market in Texas, except perhaps El Paso, because the Ags have a heavy following throughout the state. Columbia-Jefferson City is a tiny TV market but MO would be considered the prominent team in St. Louis and much of KC (the largest portion of that metro’s population lying in MO) and considered to deliver those markets. Same for Penn State in State College-Altoona. Ohio St isn’t just strictly on Columbus, but rather its pull in the entire state.

        If the P10 turned down Texas and aTm because of insistence on including TT and/or UHou, I can’t see them then turning around accepting UNLV. UNLV isn’t better than UHou academically and is in a market 1/3rd the size of Houston’s (though UH doesn’t pull in Houston at as high a rate as UNLV pulls in Vegas, UH’s local following is far behind UT’s, aTm’s, and perhaps even TT’s.) Not saying that any of those scenarios are being considered, but rather how UNLV is far down the pecking order.

        Like

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          As a local I’ll tell you that UH is 4th in the city and TTU is not even on the map, in order: Texas, A&M, LSU, Houston.

          Like

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            Thanks Loki, but as a native and current Houstonian my observation is that the order in Houston is:

            1-UT
            2-aTm
            3-Hou/TT
            5-LSU, even after the Katrina influx.

            Like

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            Also raised and current Houstonian. Maybe it’s because I work with lots of oilfield folks. But I see LSU all the time. TT almost never.

            Like

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            On a snarky note, UHou basketball just hired a TTech hand-me-down for their coach.

            Like

          • SH says:

            Just to arbitrate, since I am a local as well, I’m siding with Loki. But after UT/A&M, it really is a factor as to how well you are doing. 5 years ago, it was no doubt LSU, a couple years ago, the TT crowd became more noticable, and as UH gets better, they will get a larger following.

            Like

    • @Mike – UNLV has a good location for the Pac-10, but it’s such a poor institutional fit that I can’t see it. They aren’t a bad candidate for the Big XII down the line, though, if that conference wants to get into a growing non-Texas market.

      Like

  12. This is a couple of weeks old and I’m not sure if someone else has posted this, but here’s an In the Bleachers podcast with Chicago Tribune writer Teddy Greenstein (who is the main reporter at that paper covering the Big Ten) and his thoughts on Big Ten expansion. This was recorded right after Jack Swarbrick made his comments in NYC that seemed to open the door to ND joining a conference:

    http://center-sports.com/2010/03/11/in-the-bleachers-podcast-teddy-greenstein-talks-notre-dame-and-big-10-expansion/

    Like

    • Rick says:

      Real nice interview. Interesting observations: Does not regard Texas candicacy as realistic, does not look at ND coming to BT (cites alums and student body totally against it). Does not mention Nebraska or Syracuse? Why not? Thanks Frank

      Like

      • @Rick – Greenstein is fairly high on Rutgers as a Big Ten expansion candidate (he’s the one that wrote the widely-read column from the Tribune that Rutgers was the best fit if the Big Ten couldn’t get Texas or Notre Dame), so that might be why he didn’t mention Nebraska or Syracuse. He also mentioned the disconnect between what the administration and faculty at ND might want to do versus the opinions of alums and students, which is something that we’ve explored quite a bit here. I ultimately think that will be the determinant as to whether ND ends up in the Big Ten – how willing is the administration to go against its alums at this point? The administration succumbed to that pressure in that past, but that was an easy stance to take since joining a conference would’ve resulted in a pay cut for ND back then. It’s quite a bit different now (as evidenced by ND’s AD pointing out how the Big Ten Network’s revenue model is very different animal than what has existed before).

        Like

        • Rick says:

          I thought Teddy might have mentioned Nebraska since they seem like such a good candidate. In addition, I thought he might have expounded upon the different financial model that now exists with the BTN and how that might alter the ND stance this time. Also interesting that he mentioned the ill will existing in the BT over the ND snubs. I thought being so close to the situation he might have a broader view of things or maybe he is so close to it that the view is a little more narrow because that what he hears it is.

          Like

  13. Kyle says:

    What do you think: will Sun see Jack (spinal surgeon), Juliet (fertility specialist), of Ethan (obstetrician) in the Hospital?

    Like

    • Maybe she’ll see all of them at the same time? I’ve heard a theory that all of the Losties will end up in Jack’s hospital at the same time for one reason or another at the conclusion of the show, which actually makes a lot of sense to me. Sun and Jin are heading to a hospital, Sayid’s brother is already in Jack’s hospital for sure, Claire is carrying Aaron and is connected to Kate who just ran into Sawyer (who could then run into Dr. Juliet to spark their romance if he has to bring Kate to the hospital), and Locke at least knows the existence of Jack and that he’s a spinal surgeon that could help him with his disability.

      Like

  14. Message board posts shouldn’t be treated as canon, but this story about an ND alum’s conversation with the school’s Executive Vice President, who ended up directly talking a lot about the difficulties that ND is facing as an independent right now. If this story is true, I find it very interesting how much a school official would expand upon this subject to an alum as opposed to just giving a standard short non-commital response. Take it for what you will:

    http://www.ndnation.com/boards/showpost.php?b=football;pid=65494;d=all

    Like

    • Manifesto says:

      If true, I think it’s interesting for sure. I was wondering how the Comcast purchase of NBC would affect their contract. That said, I really wonder if it’s going to be a “good thing” for ND to join the BigTen if they have to drag their alumni along kicking and screaming. Every post or article from the ND perspective says the same thing — ND (and their fans) enjoy their privileged status and seem to be angry that they might not get to keep it. ND is the best financial case for the Big Ten, but is it worth the expected headache? Or is this all just bluster?

      Like

      • @Manifesto – If I’m running ND, the value in that NBC contract is less about the money (even though it’s very important) and more about the fact that all of those games are on NBC itself. If Comcast starts moving games to its own Versus network (as rumored), then that really does remove the “specialness” of that contract. Taking less money in exchange for coast-to-coast NBC coverage is more than defensible, but taking less money and having games on Versus (ask the NHL how much it likes being there) was likely never in ND’s plans. At that point, if games are going to end up on cable, an equity stake in the Big Ten Network is likely a much more attractive proposition.

        As for the complaints from ND alums, I guess there’s likely a sliding scale as to how much complaining one can take from an alumni base versus the value of that school. There are plently of schools that would jump to the Big Ten and roll over and do anything for the conference, yet the ones that are most valuable are likely the toughest to deal with. We’ll see how this plays out.

        There’s an old Groucho Marx line that I love: “I wouldn’t want to be a member of any club that would want me as a member.” That has always been ND’s position – as much as they feel privileged and above everyone else, they also never wanted to join a conference that actually needed them. It makes sense, in a way – the only way that ND joining a conference could be financially viable to them was if that conference could make enough on its own without having ND in the first place. Now that the Big Ten legitimately doesn’t need them from a financial standpoint, it’s interesting to see that ND’s leadership has started to change its tune.

        Like

    • Richard says:

      Man, what a deluded bunch over there. They actually think MSU and Purdue will play them late-season even if the Big10 doesn’t allow it.

      Those people don’t seem to get that when superconferences come about, they can’t
      1. Stay independent
      2. Regularly contend for national titles
      3. Get the money & exposure they have now (with the 7-4-1 schedule and a national TV contract).

      One of those 3 has to go, and it’s likely that if they stick with 1., both 2. & 3. won’t be feasible either.

      At least some of them say they’re willing to sacrifice 3. (though words are cheap; I’m not sure they _really_ would be happy giving up millions of dollars each year or see ND games on Versus).

      What’s somewhat striking to me is tht no one there has really thought about how staying independent and contending for national championships is becoming more and more incompatible. It seems like they’re more invested in what they want to believe than in reality as it actually is.

      Like

      • Manifesto says:

        As you said, words are cheap. And the random ND fan saying “who cares about money” isn’t thinking with his head anyway.

        I can’t imagine the AD just going along with getting pushed from NBC. Actually, given his recent flapping, I almost wonder if he’s throwing up a warning to ensure ND doesn’t get bumped, like, “Well if NBC were so cruel as to bump us to Versus we’d have no choice but to leave and join a conference and television competitor. But NBC wouldn’t do that, would they?”

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Given their recent ratings, NBC might not care.

          Like

          • Manifesto says:

            Perhaps, but can NBC get something in on a Saturday autumn afternoon time slot that will do better? Moreover, if recent ratings are slipping (I don’t know the numbers), that’s likely indicative of the fact ND’s been mediocre in recent years. Is NBC willing to abandon ND because of recent mediocre ratings if they generate outstanding ratings when highly ranked (and there isn’t necessarily a better alternative)? What were ND’s ratings in, say, 2005, which is the last time I remember them being highly ranked? (Don’t expect you to do the research, I’m just thinking out loud. :))

            Like

          • @Manifesto – A big consideration right now is that NBC is bleeding red ink like crazy. That’s how it came up with the “brilliant” idea of the Jay Leno Show for the 10 pm ET/9 pm CT hour in order to cut costs compared to ordering expensive dramas. (Where is Jack Welch when you need him?!) If NBC thinks it would be more profitable to air a Saturday afternoon edition of Today or even just a bunch of informercials, they would do it at this point. NBC let the NBA and MLB go to other networks, has intimated that it wouldn’t pay more for future Olympics (likely sending them to ESPN, who would pay more) and has the NHL actually purchasing air-time from the network in order to broadcast games. I don’t think that NBC cares about any sports outside of the NFL (and that’s only because it’s a loss leader where those games don’t actually make money but can be used as a platform to promote other shows). Comcast didn’t even really want NBC – it was looking to purchase the profitable cable networks. An ND-Western Michigan game doesn’t do much for NBC, but that’s a fairly valuable property for a cable network like Versus.

            Like

          • Jake says:

            I seriously have to wonder what’s going on at NBC. Their logic behind the late night move was flawed, even if Leno and Conan had worked out in their new time slots. They said when they announced the move that lower ratings at 10:00 would be acceptable, because Leno would be so much cheaper to produce than a scripted drama that it would still be more profitable. Did they never, at any point in the process, consider that the affiliates wouldn’t stand for a weaker lead-in to their local 11:00(ET) news broadcasts?

            Network primetime is high-dollar real estate – you don’t build a strip mall on Times Square, and you don’t put cheap filler in your premier timeslot. The other networks have learned to keep the reality junk to a minimum (and to relegate the weaker shows to the weekends) but NBC keeps tossing out crap like “Marriage Ref” and “Minute to Win It” every night of the week. It’s sad, really – NBC ruled the ’90s with some of the most memorable shows of all time, and now they’re in a distant fourth with the CW creeping up. Perhaps from this crisis some real innovation will emerge.

            As for their sports, they need something besides Notre Dame. But who are they going to get, college football-wise? The Big Ten and SEC are spoken for, and none of the others have quite the drawing power.

            Like

          • greg says:

            NBC would be looking to buy moderately priced conference coverage, and both the Big 12 and PAC-10 are looking for new deals. I could see them make a play for either.

            Like

          • Manifesto says:

            Perhaps the Big 12 makes a push to secure some financial footing to appease its conference members? I mean all of this instability is because of there being the promise of more money in other conferences. Would NBC be willing to work out a split deal for Big 12 games with ESPN similar to what the SEC enjoys with CBS/ESPN?

            Like

          • Mike says:

            I believe ABC/ESPN has a contract with the Big 12 that lasts until 2016

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Or they acn choose not to compete and let ESPN/ABC & Fox (maybe CBS as well) duke it out for sports programming.

            Like

          • m (Ag) says:

            If the Big 10 goes to 14 or 16 schools I could see them asking for a network to give them an exclusive deal like the SEC has with CBS when their contract comes up. If they expand with big names from the Big 12 they could easily find 2 (or even 3) games to air every week with national TV appeal. If the Big 10 instead expands East, it might be a little while before it gets the same national appeal, but it could still happen.

            So your network setups would be:
            CBS: SEC
            ABC or NBC: Big 10
            other network: ACC+Pac10+(Big 12 and/or Big East,ND)

            In fact, I wonder if ABC has already nudged the Big 10 behind closed doors. ABC has a contract with the Big 10 already, while the other conferences are all waiting for new contracts. If the Big 10 grabs 3 or 5 schools soon, ABC can decide not to pursue any other conferences aggressively. Perhaps their are extra payments already agreed to in the contract if they add certain schools? Even if the Big 10 wouldn’t get more money from ABC in the near term, the increase in exposure would be valuable to the schools. The big games would be aired around the country without any regional bumps. Anyone in the country who had ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, and the Big 10 network would see every single Big 10 football game.

            The Big 10 would probably have to allow some night games late in the year for this to happen. However, the Big 10 could make this voluntary for home teams. Any new schools that aren’t ND would gladly allow it, and several current members would probably be willing to make themselves available.

            Like

          • m (Ag) says:

            I can read a message 3 times before I post it and not find any spelling errors, but the first time I read it after posting I always find at least one.

            Like

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            Texas would jump at the chance to play in prime time every Saturday.

            Like

          • m (Ag) says:

            After trying to find listings of the network contracts, apparently the Big 10 and Big 12 ABC contracts expire around mid-decade, though the Pac 10 will be up much sooner.

            Doesn’t change the gist of what I said, though it means the 2 conferences would share a network for the next several years.

            Like

          • greg says:

            In terms of ND joining the Big Ten, people have wondered about the Big Ten paying NBC a buyout. I could see NBC agreeing to happily rip up the contract if ND agrees to cancel it.

            Like

          • @Jake – NBC has really dragged itself through the mud over the past decade. It used to have the very best demographics of any of the over-the-air networks (young, urban and affluent) with shows like Seinfeld, Friends and ER, but it’s now at the bottom of the barrel. NBC also hasn’t done a good job leveraging even its better shows like The Office into more high quality lineups. That being said, maybe NBC is simply the canary in the coal mine and every other network is going to suffer the same fate? Fox has built much of its current prime time model around American Idol, which is losing Simon Cowell next season. Note that when Simon left UK’s Pop Idol for his own X-Factor show (which is what he’s going to do here in the US), Pop Idol ended up getting cancelled shortly thereafter despite huge ratings before. ABC has actually been doing a decent job with its shows and CBS seems to draw high ratings for whatever reason (even though I hardly watch it for anything other than sports and How I Met Your Mother). Still, ABC is losing LOST and CBS will eventually lose or tire out of CSI vehicles (much like the former proliferation of multiple iterations of Law and Order on NBC has been ratcheted down considerably) and who knows what will replace those types of shows. The over-the-air network revenue model was dependent upon across-the-board hits like Seinfeld, which we’ll probably never see again due to audience fragmentation in a universe with hundreds of channels.

            Like

          • Jake says:

            @Frank –
            I agree about the near impossibility of having an across-the-board hit. 15 years ago, HIMYM would have been legendary. The best it can hope for now is to keep its niche, win some Emmys, stick around for a few seasons and make some money in DVD sales and reruns. Of course, off-network syndication is also suffering as there are fewer and fewer of the hit sit-coms to choose from. I like the variety that hundreds of channels bring, but I also miss the days when you could come into the office and talk about what was on TV last night. You try that today, people either shrug or tell you to stop talking about the episode they DVR’d and haven’t watched yet.

            Another problem CBS has is that their audience is a bit long in the tooth. They typically have the highest ratings, but FOX beats the pants off of them in the key demographics (i.e. young people). At some point that has to be a problem.

            But as long as they keep up their NFL coverage and Tiger keeps playing golf, they should at least have quality sports programs to bring in viewers. I also like the work they do with SEC games. CSI’s wave may have crested, but it looks like the NCIS franchise is just getting started. And it seems like every year they have another hit new drama – Mentalist last year, Good Wife this year. They seem to have found something that works, even if they aren’t revolutionizing television.

            I think ABC is in pretty good shape. Lost is big, but it isn’t carrying the network like American Idol is for FOX. ABC can ride DWTS for several more years (and they don’t really have to worry about any of their permanent cast members leaving, which is a plus), and V may have some legs. The downward spiral of Grey’s Anatomy might be a concern.

            Long-term, there has to be some concern for all of the broadcast networks. Cable is just so much more profitable that it will be tough going for the over-the-air folks. In the future, their model may be to serve as a “loss-leader” for their family of profitable cable channels, and in that case NBC is clearly leading the pack.

            Like

        • Rick says:

          Omni would know or at least find out. Omni!!!!!!!

          Like

          • omnicarrier says:

            That might depend upon how you “define” NBC. ND has always felt it had a special relationship with GE. Now its Comcast – new corporate types for them to deal with.

            I think NBC under both “want” ND, even though the ratings haven’t been great. When ND is good, the ratings will be there.

            The problem from the ND point of view isn’t that they will lose the contract, nor even about it being less $$$ than joining the Big Ten.

            The sticking point seems to be that NBC wants more Saturday Evening games and they wanted more product which resulted in the 7-4-1 scheduling that the Irish faithful hate because it leads to a water downed schedule.

            When it was GE, ND knew all 8 games would show on NBC although the option to push it to a cable outlet owned by NBC was in the contract. ND relied on its relationship with GE to prevent that clause from being exercised. Now with Comcast, the new owners of NBC have a legitimate business reason to increase the prominence of Versus. So ND believes Comcast would likely push at least two of those watered down games to Versus.

            So, if this is where the NBC contract is possibly heading how is that different than ND games on ABC/ESPN with 2 on BTN?

            Like

    • DavidPSU says:

      Thank yo for posting that link, Frank. Why do people on the ND board refer to the Big Ten as the “Integer” Conference?

      Like

    • M says:

      It’s 1999 all over again: you can’t throw a stick without hitting an ND admin/faculty saying “We are not not interested in joining the Big Ten” unless the stick is picked up by an alum to make a torch to go with their pitchfork.

      The fact remains that the vast majority of ND alums want to stay independent and that these alums wield a large amount of influence over the choice of the university. Thus in some sense the administration is not negotiating in good faith, as they do not have the ability to make this decision. Furthermore, you cannot negotiate with a mob.

      Nothing important has changed since ’99. The reason they did not join then was alumni backlash and that still exists today. One quick look at that message board should convince anyone who thinks otherwise.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        The money’s changed. Viability as an independent is also more in to question. No doubt their alumni/supporters may still be against it, but there are now some more reasons (along with the academic collaboration) to counter their alums.

        Like

        • M says:

          You have a grave misunderstanding if you think these people will listen to “reasons”. They are adamantly against any sort of conference setup and are convinced that all of their problems are caused by poor scheduling (and possibly haters). The academic reason was there 10 years ago. The monetary reason they think is a result of Swarbrick and an ESPN/Big Ten/Big East/men-in-pointy-hats conspiracy to deny them their true worth. It’s like trying to convince a 13 year old girl that her life isn’t over because she can’t go to the mall every day. Sure you might be correct, but that fact does not help you any.

          Like

          • @M – I definitely don’t think the alums are going to listen to reason here. The real question is whether the administration, if it really does want to move to the Big Ten or think it’s in the best interests of ND to do so, has enough wherewithal at this point to pull the trigger on the change. Now, the alums have a lot of sway over the administration, but if we’re talking about the possible destruction of the Big East and relegating ND’s non-football sports to a mid-major conference, then ND may not really have a viable choice. The alums can sit back say, “Screw the non-revenue sports,” but the administration really can’t, especially since going to be the Big Ten means more revenue.

            Like

      • Rich says:

        I agree. The argument in favor of jioning the Big Ten for football is still not persuasive.

        I think that a few alums are starting to believe that it is possible that an administrator might flirt with joining the Big Ten.

        http://www.ndnation.com/blog/2010/04/notre-dame-joins-big-10.html

        Please read. I suspect that by next week the admin will receive several thousand letters in opposition to even the investigation.

        Like

        • Manifesto says:

          @Rich: I read it and had a couple thoughts. First, I agree that ND might be giving up their recruiting advantages. However I can’t help but feel like the article is shortsighted.

          In the article, ND has an advantage because of its national identity and national TV contract versus the regional contract of the BigTen Network. If Comcast decides to move ND football to Versus, is that really still an advantage? The Big Ten Network is just as available as Versus — I get both out here in Washington and did last year in California. In fact, I didn’t realize Versus was even a channel until I moved to California. And how is having your home games broadcast on ESPN/ABC a disadvantage? It’s not like ND is going to end up on Big Ten Network every week. OSU was on BTN for three games last year (which I think is a new record). The rest were ESPN/ABC. The article is making the assumption that NBC contract is going to stand forever, when there’s a lot of undercurrent suggesting that might not be the case. ND’s always landed on their feet — I suppose that it’s assumed if NBC dumps them ESPN/ABC will work to scoop them up for national coverage, something I don’t really see given their contracts with every conference already packs their time slots.

          Additionally, the argument of mismanagement is fine I suppose, but saying “if Notre Dame had played at the same level that it did under Holtz, it would still be the most valuable college football franchise in the country” seems silly. Using “coulda shoulda woulda” arguments for business direction gets you nowhere. What did the money deposited to the general fund go to fund? I know ND doesn’t do a ton of research, but is the CIC something that can help clear up that general fund siphoning? This just leaves me wondering if ND is in worse financial shape than anyone fully knows.

          Frankly, it seems now is the time or it will never happen. Big Ten has equal or greater leverage with ND this time, something the Big Ten hasn’t really had in the past two decades. If they can’t use the current advantages to get ND to join I really don’t know what would work. If ND prefers to continue as an independent, good luck with that. The market seems to be changing against that trend. Hopefully the Big Ten will move on and invite someone else if so, because after decades of being the conference equivalent of Notre Dame’s smitten platonic friend I’d like to see something happen with it or go find someone who sees the value Big Ten membership offers.

          Like

          • Rich says:

            I hope you do ask other schools to join. I have no doubt that if Syracuse, Rutgers, Pitt, Missouri and BC joined, the readers of this blog would be very pleased. I have already written several letters to urge Fr. Jenkins to decline to walk done this path. I know that many other alums are bombarding the President’s office, too.

            I am very happy that you enjoy your conference affiliation. I know that the Univ. of Illinois has benefited greatly since WWII from its affiliation in the Big Ten.

            It is not for us.

            Like

          • Rich says:

            Also, Iowa State would be an excellent candidate.

            Like

        • Richard says:

          The key thing that struck me when reading the article is that the author seems blissfully undisturbed by the financial and national title implications of staying independent (and the impact that will have on recruiting). He seems to want to stay independent and play a schedule that would be 7-5 or 6-6, (even if the Big10, SEC, and Big12 refuses to play ND after early October), presumably by playing home-and-homes with non-AQ schools….which is what Army does. Like ND, Army & Navy play national schedules against teams across the country, have national followings, and have national TV contracts (virtually all their games are broadcast on CBS College Sports, which many cable providers carry). If ND is forced to go on Versus, how is that a positive for their recruiting or national title aspirations? If they have to take a fraction of what Big10 and SEC schools get to stay on network TV (and give up money in home games and neutral sites by playing that tough 6-6 schedule the author seems to want), how well will they compete in recruiting?

          I also love how he blames Kevin White for giving up $10M of upside for a relatively small guarantee, never considering that maybe the power conferences forced ND to take such a pittance to stay as an independent with access to the BCS.

          The biggest source of tension, it seems, is that ND supporters have a view of ND’s negotiating position and influence that may not correspond to reality any more (I’ve yet to see an ND fan acknowledge that the Pitt games that were shown in ESPN/ABC nationally had higher average ratings than the ND games on NBC last year). I don’t envy ND’s administration.

          Like

  15. Adam says:

    Hello all, just got off the phone with the Big Ten Conference. I sent them a letter last week making a FOIA request for the league constitution and bylaws, wanting to know what the voting percentage was to offer invitations. Polite gentleman just spoke with me (I regret that I did not jot down his name), and he said that the league does not consider itself bound to FOIA strictures but that they try to be cooperative when the requests are not onerous. I said that the only real question I had was what the voting percentage was, and he said it is 70% (a weird number). So, that puts to rest Mr. Chipman’s intransigence that I reported to you all some time ago. I noted to the fellow that I think a very good argument could be made that the Big Ten, an organization whose membership is 90.9% public schools and which is governed directly by those schools, could be held to FOIA and other open government requirements in light of Brentwood Acad. v. Tenn. Secondary Sch. Athletic Ass’n, 531 U.S. 288 (2001). Although Brentwood was distinguished on statutory grounds in Breighner v. Mich. High Sch. Athletic Ass’n, 683 N.W.2d 639 (Mich. 2004), the facts that the Michigan Supreme Court pointed to in concluding that the MHSAA was not bound by Michigan’s FOIA tend to break in the opposite direction for the Big Ten. He didn’t disagree with me that the argument could be made, but of course they disagreed.

    Like

    • Great info, Adam (and excellent argument that the Big Ten ought to comply with the FOIA request, although I’m not surprised that they pushed back). If the 70% voting threshold is true (and maybe that’s a relic of the time when there were actually just 10 teams in the Big Ten), then expansion would need to be approved by an 8-3 vote.

      Like

      • Adam says:

        Precisely what he said re: 8 votes being needed. It didn’t occur to me that the 70 number probably was from when the league had 10 members and 70% worked out evenly.

        I was left to assume that they cooperated with me because they want to avoid the possibility of a lawsuit that would declare them bound by FOIA. He noted that all deliberations of the COP/C are in “executive session,” and I imagine they want to keep it that way.

        I felt like I had a winnable argument if the thing went to court and, if nothing else, it would have been fun to drag the Big Ten into the Illinois Appellate Court, so I thought I’d just go for it.

        Like

    • m (Ag) says:

      Interesting information.

      Of course, it would have gotten out anyway if the debate among Big 10 schools had gotten heated anyway.

      I suppose the thing to wonder at this point is that if it became known 2 schools became anti-expansion, would Pennsylvania or Iowa governments try to pull a Virginia and force Pitt or Iowa State to be included in any large expansion? That ploy wouldn’t work with a 1 school expansion, as the Big 10 would just not expand with a single school it didn’t like. However, if, say, it became known Big 10 expected Notre Dame, Rutgers, and Syracuse to join, could politics come in to get one of those schools forced in?

      Like

      • Manifesto says:

        No real political knowledge here, but I could see Pennsylvania maybe if we’re already talking about a raid on the Big East. Pitt officials and influential interested parties probably won’t be keen on seeing Pitt in another unstable conference situation, and could pressure politicians to lobby for their inclusion. Especially since, aside from ND being the more attractive choice, the only thing that seems to be keeping Pitt out is the fact it’s already in the Big Ten footprint. I just don’t know if Iowa carries the same clout with Iowa State.

        Like

        • Charles C says:

          Just my opinion, but I would be stunned if the Pennsylvania government made any attempt to influence Penn State’s voting. Specifically because:

          1. Penn State has far more alumni than Pitt. In the ACC expansion scenario, Virginia Tech was the larger school.

          2. Penn State and Pitt are state-related, not fully public, state universities like Virginia Tech and UVA. State appropriations account for only 8% of Penn State’s budget.

          3. The PA Government took no steps to coerce Pitt to intervene on Temples behalf when they were kicked out of the Big East.

          Like

      • @m (Ag) – That was a situation that I was concerned about before and why I thought the Big Ten would try to keep its voting requirements under wraps. I’m not really sure how much sway Iowa State and/or Pitt have with their various state governments. Based on what Virginia did, I would surmise that as long as the Big XII was alive without its BCS AQ status threatened (which is what Virginia politicians were concerned about with respect to the Big East), then Iowa State likely doesn’t have much leverage. Pitt might be a different story since the BE could conceviably be destroyed completely by the Big Ten and would need political protection. At least Pitt is kind of like Virginia Tech in the ACC/BE situation – ultimately acceptable to the rest of the conference even if it duplicates a market if that’s what it takes to get the bigger prize (Miami for the ACC or ND for the Big Ten). I think that Iowa State is a complete non-starter, though – I can’t imagine the Big Ten admitting them under any circumstances.

        Like

        • Kyle says:

          The duplicate market comparison for Pitt and Virginia Tech doesn’t take into account the potential Big Ten Network subscription money. The ACC had no such revenue potential when they were strong-armed into taking Virginia Tech.

          Like

      • Adam says:

        The ongoing question I have about the political angle is that most states have a separate article in their State Constitution relating to education. In some cases, this article establishes the flagship state university (or universities), and otherwise insulates them from legislative pressures. This is apparently not the case in Texas and Virginia, but my first inclination would be that those are the exceptions, not the norm (although this may simply be because I don’t want to believe it is routine for the legislature to meddle with the university system).

        Like

  16. Mike says:

    Clever (Today is my favorite day on the internet)

    BREAKING NEWS – Florida to Join Big Ten in 2013

    http://www.rivalryesq.com/2010/4/1/1400180/breaking-news-florida-to-join-big

    Like

  17. Mike says:

    Clever

    Pac-10 swells to Pac-16

    http://stanford.scout.com/2/958776.html

    Like

    • Jake says:

      Ahh, I was expecting prank conference realignment articles today. None of them compare to Brazil in the Big Ten, however.

      Like

  18. Jeremy says:

    Waahh ooo there Frank. CBS is the number 1# conference. You ever watch thier monday night line up? Big Bang Theory and Two and Half Men are like Everybody Loves Raymond and Two and Half Men. At least CBS knows how to replace thier premier shows with other ones. Your right NBC has nothing after The Office they do own Showtime,which has so many good shows. I doubt they would move a show like Dexter. ABC used to have cream of the crop with family shows now they have a bunch of lame shows. I do like the Jamie Oliver show so I have given more respect to them as of late. Well the best shows of any decade are Cop/detective shows, Hospital, and Comedies. As long as you have those in your line and they are actually good no one will complain. Dont you remember Dragnet being on the air?

    Another issue Versus may lose thier NHL right to ESPN. So what are they going to show on a Saturday? They may feel the need to move Notre Dame games on afternoon. They could share like NBA with TNT and ESPN.

    Like

  19. Frank, as you know, I’m one of your readers who also is obsessed with Big 10 expansion. I personally feel like Swarbrick is smart enough to read the handwriting on the wall with regards to joining a conference, but also realizes that convincing loyal fans, alums, and boosters is a delicate process. The last two articles I have written have been fairly critical of Notre Dame and the obnoxious portion of their fan base. If your or your readers are interested in another lawyer babbling about conference expansion, check out my thoughts at: http://thepolesposition.com/2010/03/19/notre-dumb-the-more-things-change-the-more-they-stay-the-same/. Keep up the good work!

    Like

  20. On a slightly related note, here’s a really interesting commentary from the Cato Institute, of all places, talking about the negative effect of public university football on the prospects of the private basketball schools in the Big East:

    http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=11590

    Like

  21. The Kansas City Star has an overview of the 3 major economic issues in college sports: NCAA Tournament expansion, conference realignment and the BCS. Very interesting that Ohio State’s AD has some personal expansion favorites and is in support of the Big Ten expanding beyond 12 schools:

    http://www.kansascity.com/2010/04/03/1855194/money-will-inspire-changes-in.html

    Like

    • Manifesto says:

      @Mike: Oy. 16 teams is the one of the few scenarios I’m not particularly pumped about. Although, if it happens, I’d have to think the East Coast Strategy Frank outlined a while back is probably in full force. A full attempt to capture the Northeast market.

      Like

      • Mike says:

        Do you think it will be three east and two west or a full on five schools east?

        Like

        • Richard says:

          One western school might be taken in to get the western Big10 schools to vote for expansion, but I’d rather go whole hog and try to capture the entire Northeast.

          Like

        • Manifesto says:

          @Mike: I tend to buy into the idea that if you’re going to expand by that many you’re doing it to completely take a market. Splitting your direction might not make a ton of sense in that case. I mean, maybe you take Nebraska because it’s a lucrative school, and ND if they decide to jump on board, then your final three in the northeast. Without Texas I’m not sure I see five schools worth taking in the west.

          Regardless, I worry about conference cohesion with 16 schools. I don’t think you can expand by that many and get too wide geographically and still maintain the tight group that the BigTen, SEC, and Pac10 all currently have.

          Like

        • Pat says:

          Maybe the B10 has already tipped their hand and will be adding the five teams mentioned by the consulting agency, Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Missouri. Perhaps they are just waiting for the school year to end and for the Irish to soothe their frazzled alumni before making the announcement.

          Personally, I have a hard time seeing the B10 presidents expanding the conference membership by almost 50%, but if it’s going to happen, I would replace Rutgers with Nebraska. Syracuse and Notre Dame should be able to capture the New York and New Jersey cable TV markets. Better to have Nebraska’s marquee football program than take a chance on Rutgers.

          Content will be king on the B10 Network. Syracuse basketball and Nebraska & Notre Dame football are national brands that will attract “eyeballs”. Pitt has decent BB and FB and will have rivalries with ND, Penn State and tOSU that should attract viewers.

          One benefit of a 16 team conference over 12 is less chance of a rematch in the championship game.

          Like

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            Maybe the B10 has already tipped their hand and will be adding the five teams mentioned by the consulting agency, Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Missouri.
            ———————-

            I think you are probably right, though MD or NE might talk their way in instead of Pitt (or maybe even MO.) Pitt is far more likely to be dropped than Rutgers and NJ’s potential 10 million person submarket. UConn has a shot, but isn’t AAU like the rest are (except for ND) and probably isn’t needed for critical mass in the NYC market.

            My guess is that the B10+’s pecking order for 16 is, in order:

            1 – ND
            2 – Rut
            3 – Syr (those 3 along with PSU should nail down the greater NYC market)

            4 – MD (6 million residents, excellent academics, higher profile DC and east coast market, possible political advantage?)
            5 & 6 – MO & NE (MO has 6 million residents, NE less than 2 mil but a somewhat national name and following. NE also may have better connections and influence with B10+ decision makers)

            7 – Pitt
            8 – UConn

            A possible wildcard factor: Would the P10 prefer to add NE if they go to 16? Probably. But OTOH, NE and MO going to the B10+ might make P10 expansion easier. Given the rumors of TX’s demands, such a scenario might make it possible to reach 16 without having to drop one or more P10 schools (which would have required disbanding and reforming in a Western Alliance.) I could see TX being ok with all the P10 plus CO, KS, TTech, aTm, and OU (keeping their game in conference for schedule flexibility and out of the SEC and its potential recruiting advantage.) If NE was available TX might push for the P10 to drop WSU or OR St. So in that case it might be in the P10’s overall interest to see NE go east. NYC and ND may be reason enough for the B10+ to go to 16, but the end game may be for BCS transformation that is easier with more 16-school super conferences. So I could see the possibility of the two conferences collaborating, perhaps along with the SEC (and maybe even the ACC) in redrawing alignment maps. Potsdam II.

            Like

          • Rick says:

            “Syracuse and Notre Dame capturing the NY and NJ cable TV markets”. Seriously?

            Like

          • Kyle says:

            As a Pitt student, I would like to say that I haven’t seen any institutional rivalry with Ohio State. If anything, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” with respect to the Buckeye/Penn State rivalry. I’m sure a basketball rivalry could develop, but there’s no animosity there right now. We consider Notre Dame a rival, but I think Pitt is behind Michigan, USC, and Michigan State at least in the eyes of many Domers.

            Like

          • Paul says:

            Between Notre Dame and Penn State the B10 should be able to grab most of the NY and NJ markets. No need to add Syracuse and Rutgers. Both those schools are fine academic institutions, but other than Syracuse BB, they would add nothing to the B10. Better for the B10 to look west and add Nebraska and Missouri.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Disagree on that. ND may be NYC’s most popular college football team (though it still ranks behind most of the pro team and several college basketball teams), but unless they’re from Pennsylvania, no New Yorker would care about PSU. If you want to capture the Northeast, you go wholehog and capture the Northeast.

            BTW, this isn’t network TV: cable subscribers are key, not necessarily brand names.

            Like

        • c says:

          Re: NY metro regional market (Rick)

          Rick, everyone knows RU is key to the NJ-NY metro regional market and is the key factor behind the Big 10 expansion move. ND is just a smokescreen.

          More seriously, my own view is that while ND along with PSU and whoever will be successful, the best combination is linking RU and SU together as a regional package if the goal is to truly capture that market.

          Like

    • Richard says:

      Small quibble: Butler _is_ like Milan. While a tiny school, Milan had made the Indiana state Final 4 the year before, so they were considered one of the best teams in the state that year. It would be more accurate to say Butler isn’t Hickory High.

      Like

    • Mike says:

      Everything that I’ve heard is that Texas to the SEC isn’t going to happen. However, journalists (like this guy) keep writing that Texas would go to the SEC if the Big Ten expands to 16 teams like its possible. Does anyone know if Texas has changed its attitude toward the SEC? Do SEC writers assume that everyone wants to be in the SEC? Are these just lazy journalists who don’t do their homework and look at the biggest geographic fit?

      Like

  22. Well, there’s at least one ND alum out there that actually supports joining the Big Ten in a series of posts:

    http://www.irishroundtable.com/?p=1963

    http://www.irishroundtable.com/?p=1977

    The comments to this ND blog post opposing independence are also a little bit more realistic than most of the NDNation crowd:

    http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2010/03/31/why-we-must-stand-alone/

    Like

    • Jake says:

      @Frank – that guy at Irish Roundtable quotes a $15 million annual figure for ND’s NBC deal – that’s a bit higher than the $9 million figure I’ve been hearing. Here’s another article that backs it up:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/11/sports/ncaafootball/11sandomir.html

      Still doesn’t match the $22 million the Big Ten schools are getting, but it cuts the gap in half.

      Also, ND dropping USC? I thought they wanted a national schedule – or are the Irish just tired of losing?

      Like

      • Manifesto says:

        @Jake: I think the last quote of that article is intriguing:

        “It’s not a property that we’ve made an enormous amount on but we’ve never had a loss that would frighten anyone.”

        Given the overall financial state of NBC, in the end I wonder if Comcast will agree with Ebersol.

        Like

  23. M says:

    So I took a look at the NDNation message board you keep linking and I came away with a few questions.

    1-Everyone on that board take it as a given that Michigan and Ohio State “run” the Big Ten and have control over everything. From what I know that seems like a very poor characterization. I think that nearly everyone associated with a school in the conference believes that those two schools contribute greatly to the conference. I cannot think of any particular issue where these schools demanded to get their way; Michigan even voted unsuccessfully against the last expansion.

    2-Previously, I had thought that the 7-4-1 scheduling was a way to get an additional game on the NBC contract that could be played at night for extra ratings. This allowed the increase in the latest NBC contract. However, I have since learned that 7-4-1 eats kittens and feeds on the tears of children. I understand that having effectively 8 home games a year leads to 4 MACrifice games, but it seems to me to be the only thing keeping ND’s tv money anywhere close to what schools in the Big Ten receive.

    Like

    • rich says:

      Such is the greatest power, to exert it in a way that those who are being manipulated are unaware of the man who pulls the strings behind the curtain. You are correct M, if Minnesota and Iowa want something done for footabll and UM and OSU oppose, no one knows how it will turn out — maybe a coin flip.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        All you’re showing is that people outside the Big10 don’t realize how the Big10 works.

        Like

      • M says:

        Do you mean something like playing games after Thanksgiving? Because OSU and UM were dead set against that and it is taking place next year.

        As far as actual evidence (as opposed to shadowy conspiracies) the Big Ten has a very egalitarian structure that shares all of the conference revenue equally. I am not really sure what other favoritism could apply, other than referees ensuring that 3-9 Michigan beats 4-8 Indiana.

        Personally, I think ND fans would be more upset about having to be equals with the likes of Purdue and Wisconsin than any worries about the OSU overlord.

        Like

      • Richard says:

        BTW, OSU and Michigan traditionally have been against playing football after Thanksgiving. Guess what, the Big10 will start playing games after Thanksgiving.

        I know it shocks you, since you’re a Domer, and ND has traditionally always just looked out for #1, so you expect everyone else to behave the same way, but some schools realize that what’s good for their conference is also good for them.

        Like

  24. rich says:

    Swarbrick walked back his little trial balloon today. Probably the ten thousand plus anti-Big Ten letters that he and Fr. Jenkins have received in less than two weeks has had an impact. Whew!!! That was getting too close for comfort. Gobble up Rutgers and Syracuse, I am certain it would guarantee the NYC Market for the Big Ten. If fact, maybe the YES network would drop coverage of the Yankees in September and October to broadcast Minn vs. MSU. Add Missouri, Pitt and Iowa State and you will have struck the mother lode.

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/2010-04-05-ncaa-future-concerns_N.htm

    Like

    • Manifesto says:

      @Rich: And who says ND fans can’t act elitist and condescending.

      Honest question. If ND joins a conference (any), what do the “ten thousand plus” letter writers do then? I mean, do you swear off ND from that point forward? Refuse to donate funds to the college? Do all “ten thousand plus” actually donate to the school? Just curious. Because it sounds mostly like a lot of Internet blowhards and I’m curious if there’s any significance beyond “NDNation members aren’t happy so don’t join or else I’ll write you a letter!”

      Like

  25. […] UPDATE #13 (3/29/2010) – Notre Dame’s AD runs his trap again. […]

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